There is no better place in the world to do an Iftar. There, I said it.
Think about it: Where else are so many different cultures from the Arab world represented? What other country has an Iftar tent for nearly every five-star hotel as well as a more low-key feasting option from your favourite neighbourhood place?
To get a handle on the favourites – from fancy to fancy-free – around different Dubai communities, I asked around Propertyfinder HQ. Here’s how we love to break the fast.
1. Downtown: Dubai Opera
The whole Propertyfinder team splashed out last year and attended this Iftar, which was a unanimous fave. Each year, the iconic opera house transforms its auditorium into an Iftar banquet hall. The live music leans heavily on a harpist, and the interiors scream one word: GOLD. If you’re looking for culture, decadence, and a beautiful meal, this should be your pick.
2. Old Dubai: Old Dubai Iftar Walk
If you love to take pictures and are looking for an eye-opening experience, consider the Old Dubai Iftar Walk, a team-up between local tour company Frying Pan Adventures and Gulf Photo Plus. Participate in a humble communal iftar with residents on the streets of Old Dubai, and experience firsthand the beautiful, quiet traditions of Ramadan.
3. Jumeirah: Masgouf London
If you’re going for something more casual and local-feeling, a longtime resident of Dubai had nothing but good things to say about this clean-cut Iraqi spot. She went so far as to add, “Jumeirah has the most authentic feel.” From kouzi to kubba mousil, hummus to kanafa, and mixed grill and fish dishes, there is a lot to choose from at a pretty tame price point.
4. The Palm: Asateer Tent at Atlantis
Head to the tippity-top of the Palm for an over-the-top iftar tent with live traditional and folk entertainment alongside pan-Arab dishes. This iftar is child-friendly, and a few people mentioned this random tidbit: the chairs are quite heavy! So bring your big-biceped friend, enjoy the seaside venue, and bon appetit.
5. Marina: Ruya
I tend to trust our chic art director on most things, so when she said Ruya is her favourite Iftar because of its warm atmosphere and delicious food, this went straight on the list. Anatolian cuisine (which is from Turkey, for the uninitiated) include mezzes, Pides, olives, and kebabs served up in a contemporary venue overlooking the Marina.
6. Alserkal: Open Tent
This is a rare chance to try out Japanese Arabic fusion, organised by Alserkal Avenue-based kimono shop and art space CHI-KA. The space pays homage to Japanese contemporary minimalism alongside Arabic calligraphy murals and live oud. Dubai’s first Japanese bakery, Yamanote, is also serving its sweet confections.
7. DIFC: Ninive
This is a slice of Morocco that is located in the very centre of Dubai, surrounded by the city’s iconic towers. Enjoy flawlessly prepared dishes that hail from all over the Middle East and Northern Africa, and take in live entertainment from this urban majlis at Jumeirah Emirates Towers. Games such as backgammon and cards are also on offer for those who wish to linger into the wee hours.
8. The desert option: Bab Al Shams
Someone on our finance team cautioned this is perhaps the most spendy, but also said it’s her favourite. No one argues with the finance team! Head out to the desert for an unforgettable Iftar under the stars, where a feast is served as Arabian horses gallop around and Khaleejy dancing keeps the whole family entertained.
9. Deira: Al Dawaar
Enjoy iftar from the only revolving rooftop restaurant in Dubai, with panoramic views of the sea, the Creek, and the Dubai skyline. The buffet includes traditional Ramadan delicacies, beverages and Emirati dishes.